Get an exclusive look inside one of 2022’s most promising new graphic novels.
Sofia Szamosi’s Unretouchable is shaping up to be one of the most memorable debut graphic novels in recent years. It’s a book that’s already inviting comparisons to Persepolis, and not just because of the similarities to Marjane Satrapi’s art style. This is a graphic novel that tells a deeply personal story set against the backdrop of a cutthroat industry.
Unretouchable follows the story of Olive, a student who lands a highly desirable internship at a digital photography company. Unfortunately, the glamour and mystique are quickly replaced by disappointment and self-loathing as Olive discovers just how much the fashion industry relies on image editing software and virtual models to create the illusion of physical perfection. Olive’s internship becomes a personal odyssey as she struggles to disengage from the Internet and learn to accept herself.
Reso can debut an exclusive preview of Unretouchable, which is available in stores now. Check it out in the slideshow gallery below:
Unretouchable is heavily inspired by Szamosi’s own experiences as a photo editing intern
“In 2016 when I did the internship that inspired this book, I became increasingly alienated with the world of digital images,” Szamosi tells Reso. “The allure was gone, nothing looked real. Whether a beauty ad or someone’s Instagram selfie, the divide between the commercial and interpersonal was blurred to oblivion- it all looked like the same shameless promotion, advertising to someone or other.”
Szamosi continues, “I came to feel that social media provided an illusion of connection that actually stood in the way of more meaningful interactions. Social media was my lonely island – a way to look out and look down on others, removed and protected from the risks of human contact. I am so spongy, constantly absorbing and spewing out the visual world around me. Social media preys on my vulnerabilities to keep me mindlessly scrolling and buying, and along the way I’m soaking up all sorts of cultural norms and ideologies I might not even like. And, beneath all the energy it takes to create and consume digital content, a world of creative energies lies dormant. There is a cost to all this visual stimulus, and it is a deadening of my own creative voice.”
For Szamosi, the real challenge was finding some sort of balance – taking advantage of the human connection and career opportunities social media provides without being dragged back into the black hole that is living life “always online.”
“I stayed off social media for a few years; it was invigorating, productive, and good for my soul. But as long as I live in a world full of other people, writing off social media forever isn’t sustainable. Especially not when I have a book to promote! 😉 I see a lot of evil at work on social media; there is also a lot of art, joy, connection, and fun. And there is the money. My workload today includes a part-time job in social media marketing. Diving deep into the world of trends, hacks, and the nature of algorithms, I am finding another way to process my social media alienation – to make money off it, and find the interesting parts.”
Unretouchable is published through Lerner Publishing Group’s Graphic Universe imprint. The book is available in both hardcover and softcover versions and can be purchased through Amazon and other retailers now.
In other comic book news, DC finally revealed the Joker’s real name after 80 years, and Reso recently spoke with Fantastic Four: Full Circle creator Alex Ross about how he wants to see the FF integrated into the MCU.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for Reso. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.